Sunday, December 16, 2012

"Sharing" is Piracy

Too many tech savvy people who ought to know better appear to be constructing new business models based on the assumption that it is legitimate and innovative to provide ways for "readers" to "share" ebooks, or links to where ebooks are stored.

They are mistaken. If they believe that anyone may lend and ebook to a friend simply because lending takes place on Amazon, and file transfers take place via Drop Box and its ilk, they are fooling themselves and their investors and customers.

Amazon pays something like a 70% rate to publishers who agree that an ebook may have "Lending Enabled", and they pay approximately 35% to publishers who do not wish "Lending" to be available. When an e-book is loaned, the original purchaser (who is actually a licensee, not an owner) does not have access to their ebook. The loan is of limited duration, and when the loan expires, the borrower loses access to the ebook.

Marilynn Byerly has graciously consented to share her articles on copyright.

Click on the "copyright" label for more info on various copyright issues.

As always, anyone here may use my articles on copyright at their own sites or blogs or whatever.

Marilynn Byerly


  1. Thank you for this! I put a link to it in my Tuesday Dec 18 post here because actually, it's at the core of the topic I've been discussing in story-structure craftsmanship.

  2. I wasn't aware of this capability since I don't have an ereader. I've sent this out via Twitter.

  3. Um, you're conflating file sharing and legitimate lending.

    File sharing = setting up a file so that you have a copy and then everybody else you share it with can make copies, too. Attaching the file to an e-mail = file sharing. Uploading it to Dropbox or some other online folder for the intent to let others get the file = file sharing.

    Clicking that "Lend me!" link on an e-book you've bought from an e-retailer is not file sharing.

    When you sell an e-book with sharing enabled, that is a completely different monster. When you lend/borrow a book through one of the "Lend me" links, the lender cannot read the book while the borrower has it.

    It's no different from buying a physical book and loaning it to a friend. You can't read it while the friend has it. The friend can only have it to read while you don't have it.

    Same thing.

    Only way it isn't the same? On at least some devices, e-books can often only be lent once, for a strict two weeks from the day of lending. It's incredibly annoying, if you have multiple friends who are interested in a book. With print books, you don't have to pick one and let the others cry.